Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Jeff Kennett Gargoyle

Along the southern wall of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, flanked by statues of St Francis of Assisi and St Catheine of Siena, is a most unusual reminder of Victoria's former premier Jeff Kennett. One of the gargoyles that dot the bluestone walls of the Cathedral at regular intervals has been carved in his likeness.








Local stonemason Tom Carson is responsible .He did some work on the Cathedral during remodelling in 1992 and decided to include Kennett as a 'whim.' In 2002 he told The Age newspaper:


'When they (the church) first began doing Gothic buildings in the 12th century, the stonemasons were like cartoonists, so they did all these funny animals and they'd get the local mayor or the dean of the cathedral and make him look like a monster. It was the master masons way of making fun of local dignitaries, or perhaps settling a score. I was very lucky to get away with doing something a bit different.'


Kennett himself claims not to have seen the gargoyle, but is pleased by it nonetheless.


'I did hear rumours about the gargoyle but have tried not to locate it. Not being of the Catholic faith but sympathetic to it, I think it's highly appropriate.'


Undoubtedly many Victorians, not necessarily Kennett supporters, would feel the same way.

The cathedral is one of the largest Gothic churches in the world and a key tourist stop for visitors to Melbourne. You wonder how many of them look at their photos of it later and wonder if there isn't something odd about one of the sculptures...

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